“I owe my Feist buckle to Chad Masters,” joked Drew Horner the other day.
“The day before the BFI,” he said, “we were staying at Jade [Corkill]’s house in Fallon and I was heeling for Chad on one of Jade’s horses. I roped a few legs. I told Chad, ‘If I rope two feet on the next one, I’m going to win the Feist.’ It happened, and the next day, I came and won the Feist.”
That was 2014 – a year of BFI flukes. Craziness. Things that aren’t supposed to happen in the fifth round. That’s how Horner became high call with Buddy Hawkins by two seconds.
All day, Clay Tryan and Jade Corkill had led the roping. Smack in the midst of their back-to-back gold-buckle runs, they were the “it” team. But Trevor Brazile and Travis Graves caught up to them in Round Four, so fans got ready to watch the two powerhouse pairs square off in the short round for the big money.
Lone Wolf Photography
It wasn’t to be. Horner was just as shocked as the capacity crowd when both teams went down in flames on the fifth steer (Brazile caught a front leg for a no-time and Corkill roped two feet but lost them both). In fact, Horner remembers those two things more vividly than he does tossing his hat or seeing his name on that $162,500 paycheck.
He felt bad for those guys. In the meantime, the win changed the trajectory of his life.
Horner was raised in metro Dallas, and not by cowboys. He learned to rope at 15 and fell in love with it. After entering a few amateur rodeos, he turned pro at 20 and wrote a five year plan to make the NFR and win a “major.” He checked off No. 1 in 2013 with Hawkins in just his third season. Then it was on to Goal No. 2.
“I had bought ‘Rango’ that February from Bobby Mote, who got him from Trevor Brazile, and it changed my whole jackpot game,” said Horner. “That was a huge reason I won the Feist.”
He put most of the $80,000-plus BFI windfall back into rodeoing, but the rest of that 2014 season went terrible. Horner entered enough to win the 2015 national circuit finals championship but decided to finish getting his communication degree at Dallas Baptist University.
“After you reach one of your goals by winning the Feist, what’s next?” he asked. “Maybe you jump into something else that’s a little more family-oriented than traveling all the time to rope for a living.”
Two years ago, Horner started a third-party logistics company called Deliverzen. The fulfillment and distribution center based in Irving, Texas, ships products around the world. And a year ago, he married his wife, Christen. The horses were dispersed. Charly Crawford bought “Rango” and eventually sold him to Josh Torres, Horner said.
He still keeps in touch with Hawkins and follows pro roping.
“When the Feist comes around, I live-stream it at my desk while I’m at the office,” Horner said. “It’s awesome. Obviously that win was a huge part of my life. I had spent years pursuing it and loved it.”
Horner ranks winning the BFI right up there with making the NFR.
“I didn’t set out to be a good rodeo cowboy or a good jackpotter – I wanted to be good at both,” he said. “I didn’t want to just be a short-score rodeo guy. But six in a row over a super-tough setup? Anybody can put a rope in his hand and catch, but the Feist is more of a challenge – it’s being able to score good and ride a good horse and rope and put it all together on freshies that are running hard. It takes discipline.”
By: Julie Mankin
Photography: Lone Wolf Photography 2014 BFI